Microsoft celebrates World Autism Day, announces Autism at Work Summit, April 24-26

Arif Bacchus

Microsoft India

Yesterday, Microsoft and many other companies around the world joined together to celebrate World Autism Day. To mark the occasion, Neil Barnett, the Director of Inclusive Hiring and Accessibility at Microsoft, took to the company’s developer blog and explained how the company has created a positive impact for those dealing with Autism. He also announced that Microsoft would be hosting the Autism at Work Summit from April 24-26 at their Redmond campus.

According to Barnett’s post, Microsoft previously learned that their traditional hiring process was a challenge for individuals with Autism. The company launched the Autism Hiring Program three years ago to help address the issue, and since then 50 full-time employees have joined Microsoft through the program. The hires joined teams all across the company, and 70% relocated to work for Microsoft.  Barnett hits on the following highlights:

  • Engineers we hired through the Autism Hiring Program are now responsible for writing code for products and services that are being used by millions of customers daily.
  • Based on the training we provide managers, our best practices for managing an individual on the Autism spectrum are helping develop leadership skills and practices that create a more inclusive experience for all of the team members. Often the advice is so simple: Providing feedback more often, sharing recaps of meetings in writing, and giving clear expectations are all examples of approaches that are helping all our employees succeed.
  • With a strong atmosphere of inclusion at Microsoft, employees outside of the hiring program are feeling more comfortable to self-identify, helping their co-workers understand more about Autism.

Microsoft finds it important to partner with other companies across industries to help address perceptions and bring more people with Autism into the workplace. The company is working with SAP, JP Morgan Chase, EY, Ford Motor Company, and DXC technologies and launched the Autism Employer Roundtable to help other companies advance their hiring approach.

From April 24-26, 2018, Microsoft will host the 3rd annual Autism at Work Summit on their Redmond campus. The company will also host the Autism at Work Virtual Career Fair on April 25, 2018, for those who are interested in careers or want to chat with recruiters in an inclusive environment. Microsoft Stores across the US will also host events and activities for students with Autism and their families, so be sure to visit your local store soon to learn more.